Vancouver Canucks goalie Cory Schneider has agreed to a lockout deal with Ambri-Piotta of Switzerland’s National League “A”, according to the team website.
The move, while rumored for weeks, is certainly interesting from a players’ union perspective.
Schneider, 26, is Vancouver’s NHLPA rep and has been candidly outspoken about the current work stoppage:
Adding to the surprise? Two weeks ago, Schneider had also reportedly “given up” on playing in Europe and seemed committed to sticking in North American until a new CBA had been reached.
Now it appears that’s no longer the case.
The former Boston College standout — who holds both U.S. and Swiss citizenship — will join an Ambri-Piotta side that’s had mixed results with NHL imports.
Montreal Canadiens forward Max Pacioretty played just five games for the struggling club before abruptly returning to North America, yet ex-NHLers Jason Williams and Richard Park have been revelations for the team — Williams leads all scorere with 20 points while Park sits in fourth, with 15.
Schneider is coming off his best year in Vancouver that saw him post career-highs across the board: 33 games, 20-8-1 record, .937 save percentage and 1.96 GAA.
He supplanted longtime No. 1 goalie Roberto Luongo in an opening-round playoff loss to Los Angeles and proceeded to sign a three-year, $12 million extension with the club in June.
Update: The Province’s Ben Kuzma sheds some light on Schneider’s thought process for signing overseas…
Schneider just prior to Swiss decision: “Two months in [lockout] and at some point I really want to play — here or abroad — and stay sharp.”
— Ben Kuzma (@benkuzma) November 28, 2012